29 Nov 2017

29 November 2017 - You guessed it, still in Prickly Bay

We were hoping to have left the bay by now, as much as we love it here, we need to start moving northwards towards Antigua to be there in time for the arrival of our first guests on the 15th December. We have had a trying few days with the battery bank inasmuch as they were not holding their charge having dried out during the summer in our absence.

We decided that we needed to replace the whole bank as mixing and matching is not healthy for the power supply, and went to the local chandlers yesterday to see what they had for us. We decided to embrace the new technology and opted for AGM batteries that are maintenance free (in theory) and that should last several years. We installed them this morning and hopefully we will get a full night's sleep without the battery alarm going off during the night as the charge fell so low.

Tomorrow we will head north up the leeward side of Grenada, over or around "kick 'em Jenny", an underwater volcano that decides to disturb the surface of the sea from time to time, past Les Soeurs, uninhabited rocky outcrops in the Caribbean sea, and on to Tyrrell Bay on Carriacou where we will stop for a couple of days before checking out of Grenadian waters. From there we will head up to Bequia, then Martinique, and Les Saintes before arriving in Antigua.

Right now, the Christmas winds have not materialised, which means that we should have a pleasant sail northwards while the winds are favourable. It would be nice for something to go in our favour this season. So far it has been a matter of solving one problem after another. Ho hum! At least we are enjoying the sunshine!  And the sunsets too.

28 Nov 2017

27 November 2017 : Still in Prickly Bay

We really must start our journey north to Antigua but are rather loathe to leave Grenada.  Despite the niggles we've had with Tumi, the weather has been perfect and the social side of things first class.  But we must make the break and are heading tomorrow to Carriacou.

The last two days we have been to Grand Anse beach and Umbrellas beach bar for lunch.  The beach has just been included in the top 50 beaches in the world (we've already been to eight of them, including the number 1 in the Turks and Caicos) and our Pacific trip in 2019, including Australia, will take that up to around a half.  Umbrellas is a great place and today, as we were sitting eating, a motor cavalcade pulled up with security men jumping out (all very FBI/CIA in black suits with ear pieces) to escort the Grenadian prime minister into the restaurant.  We weren't really dressed for the occasion!

Grenada is a lovely island, very lush and green, and safe and friendly .... it's no wonder we haven't wanted to leave!  This is probably the first year however when we've not got any great distance to cover and so we can take things much easier.  Our friends have told us we are finally starting to live the cruising life, and it isn't half bad!

24 Nov 2017

24 November 2017 Prickly Bay

Cruising - it is simply a case of maintaining your boat in exotic locations.
Yesterday I checked the voltage on all of our batteries as we noticed that we were losing voltage early in the evening and were having to run the generator a second time if we were to get a decent amount of sleep before the power alarm went off during the night. They all metered out ok so we obviously needed to start looking for the cause of the power drain. The compressors for the fridge and freezer were constantly running, drawing around 10amps which appeared to be the reason for the depletion, so I found a refrigeration engineer and he came round this morning. It is no wonder the compressors were working overtime, there was no gas in either system! We had them refilled and instantly the draw on the battery bank improved and the compressors gained some respite. Debra wants me to learn how to do the refills myself but it looks as though the system could explode if not balanced correctly, so maybe not. It is on our annual jobs to do list now though, and I did learn how to tell if the gas levels are too low so I will be able to react quicker next time.
I also serviced the four winches today, much to Debra's surprise, she went to do the laundry and by the time she got back, three of the four were already done. Busy me!

We're out tonight experiencing some local cuisine at the container park, a short walk from the dinghy dock at the far end of the bay. Our sailing friends Richard and Kathy have recommended it to us and we are going with them to give it a try.

We're also going back to the fish market tomorrow, the red snapper we had the other night was delicious and we want some more. At 8EC dollars per pound (approx £2.50 per lb) we can't pass up the opportunity for more. Yum!  We also got some tuna that we'll BBQ tomorrow night with some other friends.  It's great to be reconnecting with everyone out here!

22 Nov 2017

22 November 2017 Prickly Bay

We have had a really enjoyable day today, shopping of all things! We joined a group this morning and headed off on a bus to St George's, first stopping off at a farmer's market, then to the fish market, then to the mall. Doesn't sound very exciting does it? But we chatted to the locals, bought their produce (such as cassava bread, a first for us) at very good prices and gained some insight into the community. The fish market was the highlight, we bought two types of tuna (yellowfin and albacore) and a red snapper for tonight's dinner. I watched the guy fillet the snapper carefully so that I can do it myself next time. We bought a new SIM card that allows the phone to access the internet on Grenada and now we can do our blog from the comfort of our own boat (which is what I am doing now). We have relaxed on board this afternoon, frequently swimming in the luxuriantly warm waters in the bay, and reading.

Yesterday was a different type of day. We had a couple of things go wrong that needed fixing, namely the battery monitor was showing that the starter battery voltage had suddenly dropped to 10.7v (not enough to start the engine), the shower pump decided not to work and the toilet was spraying water through the pump handle. So the day was spent buying and putting new parts in the toilet, a job I really hate doing, and reassembling it, working out that the relay switch had failed on the shower pump, getting a new one and fitting it, and buying and installing the new starter battery. Incidentally, we were given a ride to the chandlers in town by one of the guys in another chandlers because they didn't have the right battery  for us - how often would that happen in the UK?

Who said this lifestyle is exotic? Yesterday it wasn't, today it has been! We just wish we had taken some photos of the fish market. We'll have to go back another time.

20 Nov 2017

20/11/2017 : Prickly Bay, Grenada

It's lashing down with rain at the moment so we're sheltering in a bar with a cool drink, catching up with communications.  It's amazing how much we all rely on 24/7 WiFi these days, and miss it when we don't have it!
Grenada is very hot and sunny (well apart from just now!) and we've loved cooling off in the sea, swimming around the boat in the turquoise waters.  The water also helps heal all our myriad cuts, blisters, bruises etc etc ... all part of the boating life!!
We've been enjoying catching up with old friends and meeting new ones and are looking forward to heading north to the Grenadines very soon.

18 Nov 2017

18 November 2017 Getting back into the groove

After a summer focused on getting the house extension done and surgery on a very ripe hernia we don't feel as though we have actually done much in the sailing off-season, but we probably have without realising it. We got back to the boat in Grenada on the 15th and it was straight back to getting Tumi ready for splashing in first thing on the 17th. Getting the shade cloth off was the first task, then rigging the various lines for the sails while Debra was tackling the insides, cleaning, checking the linens and towels, bedding and such.
As usual, we didn't really leave enough time to do everything but managed the essentials in time including scrubbing the deposits of various kinds off the decks. We took a slip in the marina yesterday, finished our preparations, inflated the dinghy, hoisted it on the davits, washed and ironed the laundry that needed doing and we are ready to depart for Prickly Bay where we will anchor and do some provisioning this afternoon. The weather here is hot, humid and drains you of energy when you are trying to work, and my hands have got soft during the summer resulting in some spectacular blisters. They will soon harden off as we sail.